International Business Student Experience: Altria Group Distribution Company Consulting & Sales Internship

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August 25, 2015 by texasbbacareerservices

altriajanaJana Lane
Major: International Business
Minor: Spanish
Grad Year: May 2016
Intern Role: Sales Intern with Altria Group Distribution Company

Tell us about your intern experience.

My summer internship with Altria has been a learning experience from beginning to end. While the job is in sales, I learn more about practical business knowledge each day than I often have over the course of a semester-long class. This internship is the antithesis of the traditionally stereotyped intern experience; sitting in a cubicle, waiting for feedback and the next assignment. Each intern is trained to act as a full-time employee and after a few weeks, I was given the opportunity to take ownership of my own territory and accounts. One of the best and most challenging aspects of this internship was the autonomy and freedom the company gives interns to make their own impact on the business.

Aside from the day to day work of the internship, the opportunity to interact with other interns and Altria employees throughout the country was a highlight of the experience. Although Altria’s scope as a company is huge, it maintains a familial culture among its employees with a strong team dynamic. This internship with Altria combined the training and experience of a full-time employee with the opportunity to get to know the company as a whole.

How did you go about getting your internship?

Learn more and apply for Altria's Consulting & Sales job/internship opportunities via OCR. Deadlines: September 14, 2015.

Learn more and apply for Altria’s Consulting & Sales job/internship opportunities via OCR. Deadlines: September 14, 2015.

Going into the process of recruiting for a summer internship, I was interested in finding a job that incorporated sales training and experience in distribution. Regardless of where my career takes me over the coming decades, I felt that learning the skills needed to be successful in selling and communication would translate to any future position. Although some people are more predisposed to the “people” side of the business, the only way to hone your abilities is through challenging yourself with real-world experiences. I first connected with Altria at the Career Fair and followed up with the employees I met from there through the interview process to ultimately receive the job. The people I met that day have remained integral in making this summer a positive experience, acting as mentors to me throughout the learning process.

What advice would you give to others as they search for an internship?

The best advice I could give to someone in search of an internship would be to be open-minded and genuine. The image you have of a company may be a complete misconception and you will likely not know for sure if it is a fit until you meet the people that make up the company. When you interact with any company, be genuine. You should want to see if they are a fit for you as much as they want to see if you are a fit for them. If you are constantly trying to be what you perceive to be their ideal candidate, neither party will have the opportunity to find out.

Can you describe how your interview went?

The interview had three rounds. The first was a standard interview of behavioral questions. The second was a case study and the third was a day-in-the-field with an employee in the sales force as well as a manager. There are always some nerves coming in to an interview, but with practice I felt as prepared as I could be. Timed case-studies can be stressful but I used my time as effectively as I could and once the interview started, I tried to stay confident in what I had found and not deviate from that plan.

What were the hardest questions they asked in your interview?

I wish I could remember! In hindsight, though, my advice would be to take a few seconds to collect yourself and think of a strong answer when confronted with a question you were not prepared for. Time seems to move at an unprecedented pace in an interview and waiting three seconds to answer seems like an eternity. My guess, however, is that pausing for a moment is better than rushing with a mediocre answer.

Please share your general career advice?

Someone tell me, I’m 21! I hope my advice one day would be to be practical, but be happy first. That sounds good.

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